Saturday, February 11, 2012

NPL Week 8 preview

Matchday 8 will go on as scheduled in spite of financial worries at the Nigeria Premier League (NPL), where an N11.8 million fraud was uncovered this week.

For the fourth week running Gombe United start this matchday at the top of the standings but could be toppled by Sunday after their trip to Aba.

Ocean Boys will aim to notch up their first win of the season to drop the toga of the only team without a win this term. The previews here:

Saturday, February 11, 2012
Kwara United v Enugu Rangers (Ilorin Township Stadium)
This is the 17th top flight clash between both clubs since February 2003. Last season, this same corresponding fixture produced five goals with Kwara United edging it by 3-2.

In eight previous visits, Rangers have managed just a draw at Ilorin - losing the other seven. Okey Emordi's squad will be inspired from defeating Kwara United in both legs of the 2011 Wafu Cup for Clubs but it is Tunde Sanni's team that have the edge going into this game.
Our prediction: 1-0

Niger Tornadoes v ABS FC (Bako Kontagora Stadium)
ABS FC gave themselves a New Year's Day gift in 2011 when they left Minna with a goalless outing in this same game last season. But they lost the reverse game by a lone goal scored by Daniel Etor.

This term ABS have started poorly and are in the bottom four. This trip to Tornadoes will be a tough one for Erasmus Onuh's ABS.
Our prediction: 2-0

Kano Pillars v Heartland (Sani Abacha Stadium)
On current form guide in the last five rounds of games, Kano Pillars slightly edge Heartland. The hosts have picked seven points from 15 while cup holders, Heartland have managed six. However in their last two visits to Kano, Heartland have suffered big defeats of 0-3 and 0-4 in 2011 and 2009 respectively.

Heartland's last win on the road in the top flight was in March 2009 when they defeated Enugu Rangers 3-1. Pillars have been strong at home recently and will dispatch their rivals but expect a tight game this time.
Our prediction: 1-0

3SC v Sunshine Stars (Obafemi Awolowo Stadium)
Sunshine Stars will want to shake off a N20 million (about $125,000) match-fixing fine when they face 3SC in Ibadan this Saturday. It was Gbolahan Salami's double last season that ensured that Ukeyima Akombo's early goal was not enough to earn Sunshine Stars the points in this game.

But 3SC are facing a goal-scoring crisis, as they have managed to score just three times in six games. However, Festus Allen's men are primed to pick all points in this southwest derby.
Our prediction: 2-1

Sharks v Lobi Stars (Sharks Stadium)
Former Wafu Cup winners, Sharks have surprisingly found themselves in the bottom three before this game, and coach John Obuh has told his gang to brace up. The Blue Angels have won six consecutive home games against Lobi spanning seven years.

Lobi have not started well this season either after picking two wins out of six with the others ending in defeats. This could turn out to be a backlash from Obuh's men.
Our prediction: 3-0

Rising Stars v Warri Wolves (Dipo Dina Stadium)
Wolves go into this game as the only unbeaten club this term. It will be the first top flight match between both clubs. Expect Paul Aigbogun to continue to set up his squad with a touch of defensive-cum-offensive style and a packed midfield.

Newcomers, Rising Stars have won just once in four home games with the others ending in draws, and Aigbogun and his men will set out to get a result in Ijebu-Ode on Saturday.
Our prediction: 1-1

Sunday, February 12, 2012
Enyimba v Gombe United (Enyimba Sports Stadium, live on SuperSport 9)
The big question on the lips of everyone is: 'Will Gombe United surrender their table-topping position?' This will be the 20th clash between both sides in nine years with Enyimba having the advantage of nine wins against Gombe United's five in the previous 19 meetings.

Enyimba will question Gombe United's impressive start to the season and will have to keep the striking duo of Mustapha Babadidi and Sanusi Sani in check too. Bernard Ogbe's men also carry the burden of not scoring in four years at Enyimba into this tie.
Our prediction: 2-0

Dolphins v Akwa United (Liberation Stadium)
April 2007 was the last time both teams met in the top flight, and that game ended 1-1. The champions, Dolphins were one of those heavily axed in the alleged match-fixing of last season and their manager, Stanley Eguma will not be available for this game, as he has been slammed with a five-year ban from football.

First-team coach, Zachary Baraje will take charge and ensure that the champions continue their 100 percent home start to the season.
Our prediction: 1-0

Kaduna United v Wikki Tourists (Kaduna Township Stadium)
In 2007, the Tourists stunned Kaduna United 2-1 in this same game and Ladan Bosso will be keen to lead his squad to achieve same feat on Sunday in Kaduna. But Maurice Cooreman in spite of the financial hiccup at Kaduna United told that the points are important against Wikki.

"We have to win against Wikki because it is important so that our confidence levels will get better," Cooreman said.
Our prediction: 1-0

Ocean Boys v Jigawa Golden Stars (Samson Siasia Stadium)
Jigawa Stars will make the long trip from Hadejia to Yenagoa and that should wear them out by the time this game kicks off from 4pm (local time) this Sunday. There have been just two meetings between both clubs in the top flight with Jigawa Stars beating Ocean Boys 3-1 in this same game in April 2008.

The hosts will be in search of their first win of the season, as they hope to climb out of the bottom of the standings after Matchday 8 games.
Our prediction: 2-0

*'The Predictor' did not get any actual score for Matchday 7 but notched up SIX correct results.

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